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What’s the Deal with HDMI 1.4?

Jan 21, 2010

Right now, there’s a lot of buzz around the new specifications for HDMI 1.4 and many home theater viewers are asking questions. Will I really need this new format of HDMI cable to watch 3D HDTV? How about Blu-ray 3D disks? Can I still use my existing HDMI cables and HDTV? The answers to all of these questions (until now) have varied depending on the source of information. On one hand, HD device makers said one thing. On another, disc makers said something else. It’s no wonder that consumers are frustrated.

To clear things up, BigPictureBigSound.com recently interviewed Andy Parsons, Chairperson of the U.S. Promotions Committee for the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA). Just recently, the BDA announced finalization of the Blu-ray 3D specification and well as other technical aspects that will impact player manufacturers. Here’s what he had to say regarding some of the most common questions surrounding HDMI 1.4.

On the matter of having to get all new equipment up to the HDMI 1.4 specification in order to watch HDTV or Blu-ray in 3D, the answer is great news for many. According to Parsons, the answer is that you should be able to still watch Blu-ray discs in 3D as long as everything in the signal path is capable of handling the 3D payload, which means that, for example, HDMI 1.3a devices can be used if all components, including cables and HDMI switching devices (such as A/V receivers) are “High Speed HDMI.” To find out if something is high speed, you’d have to check with the manufacturer. You will, of course, need a 3D-capable TV to watch 3D, but that goes without saying.

To put it more simply, you can still keep all of your old HDMI stuff and it’ll still work once the 3D format is released. However, if you want to take advantage of new 3D technologies, you’re going to need HDMI components and devices that are high speed.

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